Three Dog Training Tips and Popular Misconceptions from ARDC Volunteer Megan

Volunteer Megan with Siberian Husky at Girl Scouts Program

ARDC volunteer, Megan Billingsley, is also Primed Instincts’ lead dog trainer. Here are her three most useful training tips & popular misconceptions. Read on to learn more.

3 Dog Training Tips

1) Have a flexible schedule – you don’t need to stick to a rigid feeding and walk schedule. Your dog will pick up on this pattern and start to expect it.

2) Keep training short and engaging, especially for puppies. Most dogs can’t hold attention for more than 15-20 minutes; for puppies it’s even shorter – around 10 minutes. Space trainings throughout the day with 2×15 minute sessions or 3×10 minute sessions so your dog doesn’t get frustrated. Give ’em a “brain break” if they seem too distracted.

3) Use any opportunity to train – training dogs in real life scenarios sets them up for success. Begin the initial training inside without distractions and then progress to outside with distractions. They’ll be more successful the more you can train them in real life experiences.

3 Common Misconceptions

1) Your dog understands the command after one session – Dogs are learning our language, which takes time and consistency; it can also be confusing if we use too many different words. Keep commands short and simple. Be patient with your dog.

2) The crate is for punishment – The crate is a useful tool to teach a dog how to be calm and on their own. It is NEVER used for punishment. Dogs in the wild have a den that they go to for shelter. This is what we are trying to recreate with crate training. The crate is a place of solitude for your dog or puppy.

3) I need to be the “alpha” with my dog – Your dog is looking for leadership, not a bully. They need a leader and look to us for guidance. Understanding how your dog learns and reacts to situations will help you to lead them to success. There is no need to “dominate” your dog; this will turn into fear which can be harmful to your dog.